President Obama opened his talk by outlining three ways that tech can improve our country
Obama discussed how the government has used tech to cut the time it takes to apply for FAFSA student aid by two-thirds and make it possible to apply for social security online.
President Obama says we have enormous opportunities to use tech to cure disease and solve other big issues. We have to not only do the research but use technology to gather that data together so it can be leveraged.
“We also want really strong encryption… [though] there has to be some some concession to the need to be able to get to that information somehow.”
“I suspect the answer will come down to how can we make sure the encryption is as strong as possible, the key is as strong as possible, it’s accessible by the smallest number of people possible, for a subset of issues that we agree are important.”
Obama does believe that law enforcement and government should have ways to access encrypted data when absolutely necessary, but that that should be done in a way to minimize risk of a backdoor falling into the wrong hands.
President Barack Obama would like the tech community to build a safe encryption key to assist in law enforcement investigations, saying that if it failed, it could one day face a more draconian solution passed by a Congress that is less sympathetic to its worldview.
If the tech community does not find a way to assist law enforcement in a narrow range of cases, he said, a future incident could spark a backlash that leads to less encryption overall. “What will happen is, if everybody goes to their respective corners, and the tech community says ‘either we have strong perfect encryption or else it’s Big Brother and an Orwellian world’, what you’ll find is that after something really bad happens, the politics of this will swing and it will become sloppy and rushed and it will go through Congress in ways that are dangerous and not thought through,” the president said.